The Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District’s assistant chief may be leaving. He told district board members at Tuesday’s meeting that his taking a position in the Columbus area is a possibility.
On Wednesday, Chad Hamilton said that nothing is firm yet, but he made the announcement to give the board some time to fill his position.
Hamilton on Wednesday declined to provide further comment on possibly leaving the district.
According to Jon Salyer, human resources manager and public information officer for Paint Creek, the board has not had the chance to discuss how it would proceed should Hamilton leave.
While Hamilton is the assistant chief of the Paint Creek district, he has been acting as chief since Bradley George was first placed on suspension in early July pending an investigation.
In a September hearing, charges against George of gross negligence, malfeasance, and failure to show good behavior were found to have been established as true and the board voted to place him on 30-day unpaid suspension, following a failed vote for termination.
At a board meeting in October, right around the time the 30-day suspension concluded, the board again voted to suspend George, with pay, pending a BCI investigation that was a result of complaints filed with the sheriff’s office.
That investigation was forwarded on to BCI, Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera said at the time, due to George’s affiliation with the office as he has been a certified deputy sheriff with the county for more than 20 years.
According to Salyer on Wednesday, that investigation is still pending.
Another investigation has been concluded, Salyer said, and this one, handled by Hamilton, was into back pay for the district’s employees first three years. Salyers said it has been determined that more than $20,000 is owed to employees, and the board voted on Tuesday to pay that to those affected.
As previously reported, a couple months ago the board authorized the back pay of more than $77,000 to employees found to have not been paid for overtime over a two-year period, from 2013 and into 2015.
The investigations were separate, according to Salyer, because federal mandate only allowed for the district to go back two years. Anything further than two years and it became a civil matter.
On another matter, at the board’s last meeting president Dan Mathews instructed Salyer to advertise for the positions of chief and assistant chief so that there would be applications on file.
Following that meeting two weeks ago, Mathews said his request was a safeguard for the district and not because hiring for either one of the positions was necessarily anticipated.
Salyer said Wednesday the district is still seeking qualified individuals who “must be Ohio ff2 current” and an “EMT with preference of paramedic qualifications.” Those interested should contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another matter discussed by the board on Tuesday, Salyers said, was mold removal at station three in Hillsboro.
Salyers said mold in the building has been an issue for some time, adding that when he was a firefighter about 30 years ago, it was even an issue then.
Since Paint Creek has taken over the building within the last three years, it was discovered that a water leak was causing the mold. Salyers said Wednesday that the leak has been fixed and the mold already cleaned up once, but it has returned. He said the district’s insurance agency is gathering information in regard to companies that specialize in mold eradication.
On the related matter of station safety, Salyer said health department issues at station two in Paint Township were also discussed. But he said of the four things pointed out by health officials, three have been resolved and the fourth, which is a filter that needs cleaned, will be a matter of “a couple hours” to resolve.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.